Answered By: Samantha Kannegiser
Last Updated: Apr 04, 2017     Views: 19

One way of finding statistical information on a given subject is to brainstorm the agencies and organizations most likely to collect statistics on the topic. For crime rates, the most likely sources are government organizations at the federal, state, and local levels

It is important to remember that, like any statistical information, crime rates need to be critically evaluated in the same way as the information you find on the web or in a database. Consider how the statistics were collected, analyzed, and if there are any factors missing that might change how you interpret the information. Also keep in mind that how crimes are defined and methods of reporting can differ at the federal, state, and local levels and differ from city to city. This can make it complicated to make direct comparisons. 


Federal Crime Statistics

Bureau of Justice Statistics: U.S. government agency. Use their search bar to search your topic keywords, or utilize the tools they have created to find specific information: 

  • BJS Data & Product Finder: Search by year and keywords.
  • BJS Federal Criminal Case Processing Statistics: For information "describing suspects and defendants processed in the federal criminal justice system." Select an area of interest to view statistics. No search option. 
  • BJS Arrest Data Analysis Tool: This includes information on arrests from the FBI's UCR tool, but expands to include more demographic details. Information is available from 1980-present. Browse National Estimates or Agency-Level Counts, and then select the criteria you want to view.
  • BJS Corrections Statistical Analysis Tool: Use this to "examine National Prisoner Statistics (NPS) on inmates under the jurisdiction of both federal and state correctional authorities." Use the Quick Tables tab to view popular statistics and the Custom Tables tab to select statistics you wish to view. 
  • BJS NCVS Victimization Analysis Tool: Use this to "examine National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) data on both violent and property victimization by select victim, household, and incident characteristics." Use the Quick Tables tab to view popular statistics and the Custom Tables tab to select statistics you wish to view. 

FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting Statistics: One of the top sources of U.S. crime rate statistics, this program has "gathered crime statistics from law enforcement agencies across the nation that have voluntarily participated in the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program since 1930."

PEW Research Center: Criminal Justice topics: "Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world." Narrow by date or search by keyword.


State Crime Statistics

Some of the federal resources allow you to narrow results by state:

The agency reporting statistics may differ state to state, but some possibilities are the State Police and Division of Criminal Justice Services


Local/city Crime Statistics

Local crime reporting agencies may differ city to city, but try the local police department first. You can also use the UCR Table-Building Tool to select a state and then the local agency (police department) to see what was reported. 


International


Databases

Databases will include more than statistics. Your searches will yield research articles which include statistics, though. You can use these to see how researchers have interpreted some of the data and statistics available.

Criminal Justice Database (ProQuest): Search by keyword and add "statistics" or "rates" to search term. Pay attention to charts and tables within the articles for visualization of the statistics. 

Opposing Viewpoints (Gale): Search by keyword or use the Browse Issues link to find your topic. Look for items labeled Statistics

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